Chennai: Sam Billings’ 23-ball 56 coupled with Shane Watson’s 19-ball 42 helped Chennai Super Kings (CSK) pull off a heist as they beat Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by five wickets in a thrilling IPL game, held amidst strong protests on the issue of Cauvery waters here on Tuesday.
Needing 17 runs in the last over, Ravindra Jadeja 11 (not out) hit a six off R Vinay Kumar with four runs and one ball remaining as Dwayne Bravo (11 not out) watched from the other end.
Chasing 203, Watson and Ambati Rayudu (39 off 26; 3×4, 2×6) gave CSK a dream start before they got out and KKR reined in with one more wicket.
But Billings and skipper MS Dhoni (25 off 28; 1×4, 1×6) kept their chances alive with a 54-run stand for the fourth wicket and after Dhoni got out Billings cut loose.
The England top-order batsman brought up his 50 in 21 balls, sweeping Tom Curran (2/39), whom he took for 17 runs in the 15th over, to the leg side to bring up the landmark.
Curran got his wicket in the same over but Jadeja and Bravo ensured the job was done.
CSK got off to a flying start. Watson made his intentions clear from the off, spanking R Vinay Kumar for two fours and a six in the first over.
At the other end, Rayudu (39 off 26; 3×4, 2×6) took a liking to Piyush Chawla hitting the wrist-spinner for two sixes and a four in the fourth over.
The pair added 75 runs for the opening wicket before Watson holed out to Rinku Singh at cow corner trying to pull Curran.
After the Powerplay, CSK were well on course at 75/1.
Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav 1/27) then removed the set Rayudu with a lofted delivery outside off-stump which went to substitute Shivam Mavi at extra cover as the batsman played away from his body.
From that point, CSK’s surge took a dip and the asking rate started shooting up. Suresh Raina (14), who was dropped by Curran on 6, could not capilatise on it and with cramps affecting him, pulled a Narine delivery to Vinay Kumar at long on.
Dhoni and Billings — given a second life by Robin Uthappa who dropped him at mid off — fought well.
Chawla broke the stand just the home side looked to be making a fight out of it with a low ball that Dhoni feather-edged to Karthik who took a sharp catch behind the stumps.
The match was not over though with Billings continuing his big-hitting before Curran got his revenge on his international teammate as the England batsman holed out to Uthappa at long off.
Earlier, Andre Russell smashed an unbeaten 36-ball 88 to help Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) recover from early jitters and post a mammoth 202/6 in 20 overs.
There was unprecedented security at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium with a lot of traffic restrictions around the stadium and the arrival of the teams accompanied by tight surveillance. The toss for the game was taken at 7.43 p.m., a delay of 13 minutes.
Life in several parts of the city was thrown out of gear after many Tamil outfits staged protests against the holding of IPL matches in Chepauk stadium to demand a Cauvery Management Board from the Centre.
Coming to the game, KKR were reduced to 89/5 at one stage after being put in before Russell (1×4, 11×6) took the home team bowlers to the cleaners with some lusty blows.
The 29-year-old West Indian all-rounder was at it from the word go and in the 19th over smoked compratriot Dwayne Bravo for three back-to-back sixes.
Russell was ably supported by skipper Dinesh Karthik (26 off 25 balls) and Robin Uthappa (29 off 16 balls) at the beginning.
Brief scores: Chennai Super Kings 205/5 in 19.5 overs (Sam Billings 56, Shane Watson 42; Tom Curran 2/39) beat Kolkata Knight Riders: 202/6 in 20 overs (Andre Russell 88, Robin Uthappa 20; Shane Watson 2/39)